Studies of Modern Chinese Usage (a), and (b)

LecturerMakoto MARUO, Professor
DepartmentGraduate School of Languages and Cultures, 2011 Spring & Fall
Recommended for:Graduate School of Languages and Cultures students, Graduate School of Letters students (2 (for each: a, b)1.5 hours / session 1 session / week 15 weeks / semester)

Key Feature

In the lecture we will combine the viewpoints of general linguistics, and relatively theorize modern Chinese grammar. We also investigate the issue of the validity of applying general linguistic theories to Chinese language, whose irregularities often tend to be emphasized. Because most of the students in this class are international students from Mainland China or Taiwan, interesting examples and phenomena are usually pointed out. I concentrate not only on creating a relaxing atmosphere in which students can freely have discussions, but also on encouraging students to carry out discussions based on academic analysis, such as where the concept under discussion is located in the system of grammar and how it relates to other grammatical phenomena, without allowing students' remarks to remain purely casual and based on personal sense of language.

Students are expected to have some knowledge of language study such as Japanese or English in order to understand the class materials, so when necessary I will sometimes assign extra tasks on studying relevant phenomena, concepts and technical terms to the students who major in different specialist area.

Course Aims

In this course, through reading the papers on Chinese language written in Chinese (Japanese article are also used when necessary), we will master the methodology of studying modern Chinese grammar.

Course Procedure

The first several sessions are assigned to studies on the grammatical concepts and features of the Chinese language. After this, through reading academic papers we will look into various specific issues. I will explain the technical terms and concepts in the process of translating the materials into Japanese. Students are expected to prepare sufficiently beforehand when reading original materials. The main activity in the second semester will also be mainly to read original materials.


Handouts will be provided. Watching the trends of academic communities and paying careful attention to books and articles in the periodically published academic journals, we will sometimes use them as course materials.

Course Requirements

It is preferable that students take both Studies of Modern Chinese Usage a and b, which are held in first semester and second semester, respectively.


Students will be evaluated almost exclusively on the final essay. Class participation, including attendance, is sometimes used in addition. The topic of the essay will be a choice from the themes that we study in the course, or on the grammar phenomenon, which the students themselves are interested in. In the latter case, the important point will be how well the question is investigated.

Last updated

March 25, 2020